The Factors Affecting Insomia

Surveys in industrialized western countries found that in any one year, about one-third of the adult population say they have some degree of Insomnia. 34 doctors said that about 12% of their patients complain of sleep disturbance (Lack and Thorn 1991). They also sound that 33% of adults reported difficulty sleeping, and 11% said they has problems sleeping at least frequently. Other research indicates that 75% of people with chronic insomnia who seek treatment at clinics or are poor sleepers blame the sleep problems on stressful life events ( Kales, 1984).

Even though the information from Kales seems like a high estimate, it appears likely that chronic insomnia often develops from emotionally transient or short-term insomnia. Insomnia can be looked at as total lack of sleep but others say it”s a sleep disorder. Allen (1991) believes that insomnia is not a disorder but a symptom or a group of symptoms. Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep, frequently and prolonged gross physical or psychological pathology. This is said to be one of the most common sleep disturbances.

Insomnia is the opposite form of sleep disturbance and it may be an associated with a variety of pathological conditions. There are different kinds of insomnia: 1) Transient insomnia which is a sleep complaint that has been present for only a few nights, 2) Short-term insomnia a condition that last for six or eight weeks; and 3) Chronic insomnia which are symptoms that have been occurring for years. (Mant & Bearpark, 1990) Some drugs and behaviors can result in or worsen sleep problems, such as drinking caffeine-containing beverages, smoking and alcohol intake before going to bed.

Varying bedtimes from night to night and changing work shifts are other lifestyle factors that can undermine sleep quality (Searle, 1998). Environmental factors such as noise from passing traffic, airplanes, neighbors stereo blasting aloud, too much light in a room and extreme temperature can disturb sleep. This disorder or just lack of sleep can be look at as some sort of Insomnia. Insomnia often present as one or more of the following: difficulty in getting to sleep, general sleep disturbance, and early morning awakening.

Sleep in this case may not be shortened, but disrupted. However, if this becomes severe such disruption causes excessive daytime sleepiness (Horne, 1988). Coats and Thoresen (1984) designed a study to find out whether daytime thoughts and behavior are associated with good and poor sleep. The subjects in the study were two teachers with heavy daytime stress and insomnia. The goal of the study was to determine whether day or night sleeping brings about more cases of insomnia. They found a correlation between the amount of the subject”s actual sleep and mood the next day.

This consisted of recordings for the subjects sleeping at nights, including individuals who to paid close attention to the subject”s teaching during that time, and a breakdown of subject”s thoughts and feelings as recorded on the tapes. In the results, the researchers found a connection between the daily actions (mood, stress-related behaviors and negative statements) and actual sleep relating to the complaint of lack of sleep (Coates & Thorensen, 1984). Behavioral assessments can be a good way of treating insomniacs has shown in the previous study.

Friedman, Bootzin, Hazelwood, and Tsao (1992) conducted a study to observe whether behavioral treatments can work for older adults with insomnia. The age group of these participants ranged from 46 to 76. They included experimental conditions for support and sleep hygiene, stimulus control and a control group. The results of the study reveal that all groups were capable of improving assessed awakenings, naptime, and a feeling of euphoria after waking up. The subjects at week 3 felt less depressed and slept better.

Even after a 2year follow up, researchers also found that the stimulus control subjects kept on using the treatment and had a good sleep habit and sleep quality. Therefore, the researchers concluded that behavioral treatments would be effective in improving sleep among older adults with insomnia. Other considerations of treatment such as drug treatment, physical exercise, sleep environment and diet. In drug treatment, drugs that enhance sensory flow and activation (antidepressants and Ritalin) are only good for short-term use ( Baekenland , 1970).

Physical exercise can help to increase sensory flow and activation for the efficient onset and maintenance of sleep. A good sleep environment such as going to bed with the television, radio, fan or light is often helpful because it can enhance sensory flow and accompany anxiety that comes with lack of sleep. In diet, a high protein (fat) low carbohydrate diet would benefit sleep because it helps to keep blood sugar falling to the low levels that trigger adrenegic alerting reactions. It also increases NE, an excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and depresses brain seratonin an inhibitory neurotransmitter ( Schildkruat, 1967).

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